As we say goodbye to an unusual summer, musical artists are still mostly working in isolation, which is sparking new ways of creating and sharing music. For this edition of Mass Mix, we asked our contributors to share a song by a local artist that they've been listening to on repeat. Here's what they said.
Cliff Notez ft. Dephrase, “Repeat”
“Wake up, work, stress, sleep / Cut, copy, paste, repeat.” Few songs capture the fog of quarantine better than “Repeat” by rapper, writer,art collective curator, and Boston Magazine’s66th most-influential Bostonian, Cliff Notez. The track lays out relatable inner-monologuing loneliness through lyrics like, “let me nurse my self-esteem and put my insecurities on a live stream.” Over a thick, sinewy lo-fi beat, producer Dephrase evinces feelings of wading hip-high through molasses. Cliff Notez and Dephrase’s new EP, Social Absence, has been coined asquarantine’s official anthem andcompared to the works of Kid Cudi — focusing on the tricky balance of fighting mental health battles in a time where many feel lost in an interstellar vacuum, isolated from society. “Repeat” does also contain glimmers of optimism with warm, uplifting background tones that rise and fall as the song evolves.-Jared Steinberg, Staff Writer,Sound of Boston
Red Shaydez, "The Recipe"
In the video for "The Recipe," a slick black car pulls up, butterfly doors swing open, and there's Red Shaydez, bursting with rhymes about her rising (and well-earned) popularity. "Been on the bottom so long / I feel wrong to be giving you bop after bop," she raps. Unlike tracks off the rest of Feel the Aura, which is packed with appearances from notable locals like Brandie Blaze and Oompa, on "The Recipe," Red Shaydez is only backed with light instrumentals; percussion snaps and booming bass accentuate her verses, which take center stage. She calls out some of her guest features later in the song: "Feeling so great for my sistas / We spittin' and we gon' be all at the top." Best to take note if you haven't already: Red Shaydez and company are ones to keep up with. -Knar Bedian, Editor in Chief, Sound of Boston
Red Shaydez, "Buy All The Land Up!"
"Buy All The Land Up!" from Red Shaydez's latest album Feel The Aura has been giving me all types of life these days. Giving us a #WakandaForever vibe (R.I.P. Chadwick Boseman) with a sample from the Black Panther soundtrack, "Buy All The Land Up!" focuses on building equity through ownership and pulling up a seat at the table. From the disparities in the medical treatment for communities of color to the glaring differences in how police officers (and the public) treat Black and Brown people compared to their white counterparts, 2020 has put a spotlight on the need to eliminate a "business as usual" mentality. This message is becoming increasingly relevant by the minute, and "Buy All The Land Up!" declares that we are no longer asking but demanding the equality that is long overdue. -Danielle Anderson, Social Media Manager, BAMS Fest, Inc. @bamsfest
Mal Devisa, "Never See Me Do It"
At the beginning of the summer, I took advantage of a Bandcamp Friday to support local musicians and stock up on some recent releases. I was excited to see that a Massachusetts fave of mine, Mal Devisa, had dropped Vicious Nonbeliever in late May. I won't attempt to describe the sound; my words would come up short. There's so much packed into the five-song ep that I've found myself going back to it again and again and discovering something new each time I spin through. And "Never See Me Do It" sets it all off. -Adam 12, Weekdays 11a-4p, ROCK 92.9
Planet Mercury, “Honest”
Channeling the nostalgic magic of music in the early 2000s, Planet Mercury serves up a catchy new single with "Honest." Rich with steady guitar licks, catchy instrumental hooks, and frontman Jerry Piccard's raw vocals, the track brings a much-needed rejuvenation to any quarantine playlist. The lyrics—smooth yet slightly embittered—create an enticing narrative infused with skater punk influences. The new single recalls the sardonic aura of bands like Bodyjar and Blink-182 and brings a late summer hit to the Boston music scene. -Alexis den Boggende, Staff Writer at Sound of Boston
Meiwei, “Unusual Spring”
We've had an unusual winter, spring, and summer at this point, but I think Meiwei's soothing song about the world's state is a universal mood for 2020 regardless of the season. Meiwei is Boston-based, Beijing-born Michelle Mouw, whose melodic voice floats along as she ponders the questions that have surfaced during quarantine: "If I die, will they name a bench after me, so my mother and others can watch the sea? / If I fall in love, will it always end tragically? Or is this just an unusual spring?" I can't wait to hear more from her. -Meghan Smith, Digital Producer, GBH
Ease Into The Noise, “Sweatshirt”
Ease Into The Noise was one of the best-kept secrets in the New England music scene and one of our best supergroups. But in 2020, they decided to take their final bow with their sprightly final record The Post-Block Days, which featured layered and oblique alt-rock anthems with abstract lyrics. This is what makes the album's lone single "Sweatshirt" such a stand-out track; over a triumphant, fuzzed-out power-pop deluge, peppered with Patrick Barry's soaring vocals, this anthemic song's prosaic nature is pleasantly disarming. For a band that dabbled in such impressionistic songs to bid the scene adieu with a song about a literal sweatshirt, disguised as something much much deeper — at a time when the country is slowly tearing itself apart, maybe that's just the diversion we need most right now; to rock out over how cool our sweatshirt is. -Lilz Martin, Writer for Lowell Spin
Darlingside, "Ocean Bed"
Darlingside isn't a bluegrass group, but somewhere along the way, they decided a bluegrass formation was what worked for them. When they play live, the four-person folk-pop group crowds around one microphone and sings beautiful, intimate harmonies. On "Ocean Bed," from their upcoming album Fish Pond Fish, they sound as gorgeous as ever accompanied by lightly pattering drums, shimmering guitars, and slowing rocking strings. The song's bright energy feels more like sailing quickly across the water with the wind in your face than drifting to the ocean's depths, but the song's haunting and melancholy lyrics channel the mysteries of the big blue. With "Ocean Bed," Darlingside shows that they understand the fear that comes with constant change in a year when everything feels up in the air. -Owen Murray, Music Coordinator, 88.9 WERS